By Jamie Neugebauer
Gabriel Valenzuela scored the only goal of the shootout as Gianluca Baggetta stopped all four shots he faced in the skills competition as the North York Rangers survived for a 4-3 victory over the Lindsay Muskies.
It was North York’s fourth straight home game that went into overtime while five of the last six at the Herb Carnegie Centennial Arena has needed extra time.
With that said, it was far from a pretty performance against the Northeast Conference’s last-place team.
“I am a little disappointed in our style of play,” said Rangers bench boss John Dean postgame, “that’s for sure but it’s that old cliché – you don’t critique the wins and the good teams find a way to win. Certain guys stepped up large for us to pull it out but I don’t know if we deserved it or not.”
Patrick Morgan scored on a centring pass to give the Muskies’ the early lead, but John Carpino’s backhand from in tight tied it up just over a minute later at 5:31.
Morgan got his second of the period at 12:43 as Lindsay went ahead again, converting on a two-on-one after a poor pinch by a Ranger defenceman.
Corey Kalk banged in a power-play marker off a rebound 4:04 into the second period to tie it, and then Zach Fung one-timed a Liam Kerins pass past Muskies’ goaltender Branden Francey less than three minutes later.
But Lindsay refused to give in as Peter Barral fired home his club’s third at 16:44 of the middle frame.
“I think maybe the guys got a little arrogant after four wins,” Dean said regarding the team’s win-streak. “I think we might have showed some cockiness in our quality of play but I think the guys will go right back to it at practice and it might be a good little wake-up call for the boys.”
Kerins extended his point streak to nine games (17 points) while Kalk now has 16 points in his last 10 contests.
The Rangers are right back in a crucial game on Friday afternoon as they travel to Etobicoke to take on the Toronto Patriots, puck drops at 4 p.m. at Westwood Arena.